LITESPORT 36 Tuesday, 29 September 2009 London Lite Metatarsal hellpaved thewayfor Defoespree JERMAIN DEFOE believes the curse of the metatarsal isnt as bad as its cracked up to be. The Spurs striker became the latest high-profile England international to suffer the injury, made famous by David Beckham prior to the 2002 World Cup, last season. The injury kept the former West Ham and Portsmouth striker on the sidelines for 11 weeks, but has hit the ground running this term, scoring six goals in eight matches for his club, as well as three in as many games for England. And the 26-year-old feels his lengthy absence has worked in his favour. I look back now on my broken metatarsal and actually think it was one of the best things that could have happened, said Defoe. In the long-term that rest I had was invaluable. Summer breaks these days are often no more than a few weeks, so Ive always come straight back into the groove when the new campaign starts without ever having an extended break. During the summer I started feeling that, for the first time since the start of my career, I was really getting back to being totally fresh and in perfect physical health -- it was incredible. Defoe dislocated a finger during Saturdays 5-0 win over Burnley at White Hart Lane, but he should be fit for Saturdays trip to Bolton. Refreshed: Spurs striker Jermain Defoe Ballack needs big prizes if hes to remain a Blue Winorbust:Ballacksdesperatetowinmoremedals MICHAEL BALLACK is eyeing up the Stamford Bridge exit door despite the clubs impressive start to the new campaign. The 33-year-old has been at Chelsea since joining on a free transfer from Bayern Munich in 2006, but has just two FA Cups and one League Cup success to his name, and realises time is running out if he is to fulfil his ambition of winning the Champions League. Ballack admits he has yet to decide where he will be playing next term and will wait to see how this campaign progresses before making up his mind. He said: What is important for me in the future is winning titles and thats why I also want to play in a team that is hungry for success. I signed an extension just recently and I obviously hope that I will continue to be successful in the future. Any decisions I have in the future though will be made after due consideration and I will discuss everything with the club and with my family. At my age you think in shorter time-frames and I am already playing for one of the best clubs in the world. Im very much at home in London and I can imagine seeing out my career at Chelsea. Its very important for us this year to win the Premier League again after a three-year wait. We want to take England by storm, but winning the Champions League is a big personal aim of mine. Ballack wont be involved in the Champions League game at Apoel Nicosia tomorrow after being left behind in London to concentrate on getting fit to play Liverpool on Sunday, following a calf problem. Fellow midfielder John Obi Mikel is, however, facing a longer spell on the sidelines after picking up an ankle injury against Wigan. He said: Its very bad and I am going to be out for three weeks. BY JAMES GOLDMAN Zola vows to go Ful steam ahead after Manc misery GIANFRANCO ZOLA reckons Sundays game against Fulham at UptonParkcouldalreadybecrucial in determining the fate of West Hams entire season. Last nights defeat at the hands of moneybagsManchesterCityleftthe Hammers stuck in the bottom three with just four points from their opening six games. AndgiventhatwestLondonrivals Fulham sit just one place and two points above them in the table, Zola is well aware of the significance of the match even at this early stage of the season. We are preparing for a cup final on Sunday and everyone will be picking themselves up, myself included, the Italian explained. But Zola admits he has to take as much responsibility as his under- performing players for the sloppy defeat at Eastlands. Carlos Tevez, once a hero in east London for keeping the Hammers in the Premier League, plunged a dagger in the heart with two goals and Bulgarian winger Martin Petrov added a third with a free-kick. CarltonColessmartfinish,which madeit1-1midwaythroughthefirst- half, had given the Hammers some hope but defensive errors ensured City ultimately cruised to victory. Intruth,itcouldhavebeenaneven heavier defeat for Zolas side and he admitted it was not good enough from anyone associated with the club. He said: I am angry with myself, with the team and everyone right now because I dont think that any- one -- including myself -- is doing what he is capable of. I know the potential is there and there is no doubt we can soon come back to the position we deserve to be in. But at the moment it is not good enough from everyone of us includ- ing myself and I am going to ask more from ourselves. I see the players in training and it is fantastic but we have to take thatontothepitchasateamandnot individuals. I am not pleased -- firstly with myself and I have to blame myself first. Meanwhile, Zola has hailed Tevez for his reaction after scoring his opening goal against his former club. The Argentine striker waved his hand apologetically towards the travelling West Ham fans after steering a Petrov cross past Rob Green. And the West Ham manager believes it really was a touch of class from the star forward. Great players like him are true gentlemen, he explained. Our supporters appreciate him for what he did for the club and his contribution for City was outstanding. MAN CITY .......... 3 WEST HAM......... 1 PREMIER LEAGUE BY NEIL MARTIN Dont cry for me Argentina: Zola cant bear to watch as Tevez says sorry to West Ham fans for scoring his first goal, top, before sealing the win with Citys third, bottom. In between, Cole netted for 1-1 with a cute finish index.html2.html3.html4.html5.html6.html7.html8.html9.html10.html11.html12.html13.html14.html15.html16.html17.html18.html19.html20.html21.html22.html23.html24.html25.html26.html27.html28.html29.html30.html31.html32.html33.html34.html35.html36.html37.html38.html39.html40.html41.html42.html43.html